SBD/February 28, 2011/Marketing and Sponsorship

McCollum Pushing Forward With Bill Prohibiting Pentagon Motorsports Deals

National Guard spends $20M to sponsor Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s Sprint Cup ride
U.S. Rep. Betty McCollum (D-Minn.) Friday said that she "won't back away from her efforts" to "get rid of the Pentagon's sponsorships" for motorsports teams, according to a front-page piece by Barbara Barrett of the CHARLOTTE OBSERVER. McCollum "plans to file legislation to prohibit Pentagon sponsorships of dragsters, Indy cars, stock cars and motorcycle racing, affecting just about every level of motorsports." She said that it "doesn't make sense to keep the benefits when cuts are being made to community health care, programs for homeless veterans and Head Start." McCollum also "will broaden her fight to repeal tax breaks for track owners." Race track owners "receive tax breaks, worth $45 million in 2010 and 2011." The deal "allows them to accelerate the depreciation of amenities and other improvements to their tracks." McCollum said that she will "file legislation to repeal that tax depreciation benefit." U.S. Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.) said, "This shows that she is on the warpath against NASCAR. This is more about her disdain for NASCAR than it really is about saving taxpayers' money." McCollum's office said that the U.S. Defense Department "spends promotional money for drag racing, motocross and even snowmobile races." The "largest amount may be the $20 million the National Guard spends" to sponsor Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s No. 88 Sprint Cup Series ride. The U.S. Army pays $7.4M to sponsor Ryan Newman's No. 39 Cup ride, while the U.S. Air Force spends $1.6M to sponsor A.J. Allmendinger's No. 43 car in the Cup series. The Army "spends an additional $8 million for NASCAR programs on its recruiting efforts" and "puts $3.9 million more into the sponsorship of Tony Schumacher's NHRA dragster." The Air Force's NASCAR spending is "less than 2 percent of its marketing budget." The National Guard's "outlay last year, $32.7 million, represented 14 percent of its marketing budget" (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 2/26).
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